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IT person showing employee how to identify phishing emails

Phishing attacks are one of the most common ways that malicious actors will try to steal company credentials or deliver malware. This makes the ability to identify phishing emails a crucial skill for anyone working with proprietary business information or access to a secured network because one wrong click could give hackers access to sensitive information or compromise your business account. Having a strong understanding of how phishing attacks work will help identify them as they come into your inbox, but here are four best practices that will help you identify phishing emails.

Read Text Thoroughly

Often, a poorly crafted phishing email will have plenty of spelling or grammar mistakes that make it easy to identify and handle according to company policy. However, more complex phishing attacks may not misspell words or have broken sentences. Sometimes looking out for other clues in the text will help, such as reading the email signature to see if a coworker has the same sign-off message you expect. Always take the time to read the email’s subject line and double check the sender’s email address because these easy to overlook elements of an email are sometimes the most reliable ways to identify a phishing email.

Pay Attention to Timing

Among the many tactics phishing campaigns use, password reset requests and a need for urgent information are exceptionally common. To identify phishing attacks, ensure the timing of an email makes sense with your own actions or expected workflows. If you aren’t in the process of resetting a password, then it’s a clear indication of a suspicious email. Alternatively, if you get an email requesting urgent information you weren’t expecting, reach out to that coworker through other means than email to confirm the message you’ve received is safe and that their accounts haven’t been compromised.  

Check Links and Buttons

Even if an email looks as you expect it to, malicious actors will try their best to spoof trusted sites to have you lower your guard. Before clicking on a link in an email, take a moment to read the hyperlink, and always make sure to check the hyperlink attached to buttons before clicking them. A few swapped letters or a slightly misspelled domain name may seem hard to catch at first, but once you become familiar with the hyperlinks used by trusted sources, it can become easier to identify phishing fakes.

Identify Phishing Tactics

The best way to identify phishing campaigns often happens before you even receive the email itself. Because malicious actors will change their phishing campaign tactics frequently and make them more novel, having an eye on the newest threats in your industry is a must. Knowing that phishing campaigns are trying to use a false window pop-up or that a trusted company within your industry is being imitated for attacks can help raise your alarms as soon as a phishing email comes into your inbox.


Following the best practices to identify a phishing email can sometimes just take a few seconds to ensure an email is safe, and it can save a company from disaster. The fine details such as email signatures or the time an email gets sent can tip employees off to a potential threat, and verifying the sender’s email address and the hyperlinks hidden behind banners and buttons will go a long way in preventing cybersecurity threats for small and enterprise level businesses. But no business should face the threat of phishing campaigns alone, and having a trusted partner in IT like Robinett Consulting will help keep your employees trained and aware of the threats they need to look out for.  

Robinett Consulting

Author Robinett Consulting

At Robinett Consulting, we are your consultative partner who strives to grow your business and have technology truly enabling you. We aim to understand you and your business so that you do what you do best unhindered by your IT.

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